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Question: I am in a homeschool co-op. We meet Mon. thru Fri. from 9:30 to 3:00 like regular school but moms do all the teaching. My problem is my son who is 6 (7 in May) feels he has to have someone to play with all the time (not his sisters though). If the neighbor kids aren't available to play when we get home he panics," I have no one to play with!" and he will mope around. He drives me crazy. How can I teach him to be able to play on his own? He does get to watch some TV, sometimes computer games, once in a great while he can get video games out. I know if they play these a lot they will get bored easy, but he doesn't sit and play them hours on end. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
Answer:

Dear Mom,

That sounds as if you may have a wonderful situation with the homeschool co-operative. Surely it is a stimulating and fun experience for the children. Children, no matter the way they are educated, do seem to need the attentions of their peer group. Some children crave this activity more than others but by and large it is completely normal for your little boy to want the companionship of his buddies. His moping around and acting irritable is strictly his challenge. This is not to say that you can be totally oblivious to his difficulty but it is important for him to create a sense of imagination apart from his friends and outside stimulation and learn to invent ways and games that are of his liking. Sometimes a little boredom is the best teacher. Make certain that he has access to art supplies, outdoor time in a safe environment, building toys, and in general the foundation for his imagination. I agree that depending upon the TV or video games thwarts the efforts of his developing a creative and unique imagination. It may be that inviting a special friend over once in a while would be a good incentive for him to be more patient when his friends are not near.

Does your son read independently as of yet? If so then it is time to make the library the first stop at the beginning of each week. Nothing fuels the imagination like a good book. Take a walk with your little boy and allow him to explore the area around his home. Make certain that he finds adventure in the simplest of places. Ignite his imagination with stories of your own for him to hear.

Many of these types of phases last a short while and then children are on to something else. But developing a healthy imagination and healthy ways to entertain oneself is important and a necessary part of the learning process.

Hang in there Mom. The summer is fast approaching and the days of playing out of doors most of the time are soon upon us. Yeh!!! I myself can hardly wait to get the children in the garden helping me to plant and pull weeds. It seems they have wonderful imaginations when they are asked to participate. They can imagine a 100 things that they would rather be doing.

Let us offer up our prayers for all those dear little children that find themselves in the middle of adult battles. Please let us pray that the adults in charge of their care will see that to steal the childhood from one so vulnerable is to steal a lifetime away from a child. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

   
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